Jewish Hospital exterior U of L provided

The University of Louisville saved Jewish Hospital from potential closure in a 2019 takeover. (from U of L Health video)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A year later, officials at the University of Louisville say their eleventh-hour bid to take over the struggling KentuckyOne Health system in Louisville, saving Jewish Hospital and other facilities that may have closed, has gone better than expected even with the coronavirus pandemic.

“Now, in retrospect, I’m particularly grateful that we were able to make this acquisition, because I honestly shudder to think about what would have happened to this community, if we didn't have Jewish Hospital, and (to) the many, many healthcare providers across the system, what would have happened if we didn't have those facilities?” said U of L President Neeli Bendapudi.

Bendapudi and U of L Health CEO Tom Miller held a virtual press conference Monday to mark the first anniversary of the deal.

U of L last year acquired the KentuckyOne facilities for a song as they were losing about $43 million a year collectively.

The deal combined KentuckyOne’s four hospitals, four outpatient centers and a physician group with U of L Hospital, U of L’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center and U of L’s doctor practice plan – creating what officials said Monday is a health system with $1.8 billion in annual revenue.

The combined U of L Health enterprise has about 12,000 employees, about half of which used to work for KentuckyOne.

The deal about doubled U of L’s academic medical center overnight, rivaling the University of Kentucky’s healthcare enterprise.

Political leaders such as then-Gov. Matt Bevin and state House Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect, threw their support behind a $50 million infusion of state money – which was ultimately shaved $35 million – to help U of L cover operating losses in the system’s initial three years.

Miller said Monday, however, the former KentuckyOne assets are no longer losing money, albeit not making enough to fund capital improvements that are needed. He did not give specific figures.

“We have taken them from a loss to a profit, and that is something we’re very proud of because it takes a heroic effort to do that,” Miller said.

Reach reporter Chris Otts at 502-585-0822, cotts@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2020 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.